Most teenagers feel accomplished getting their Ls and Ps by the time they’re 17. But two Immanuel Lutheran College students have taken that achievement to the skies, gaining their pilot’s licence before their provisional driver’s licence.
Koen Willems and Chris Wnuczynski, both 16 years old and in Year 11 at Immanuel, have obtained their Recreational Pilot Certificate which means they’re licensed to fly 25 nautical miles from their place of take-off. They’re both rated to fly a light sport aircraft and will now pursue their navigational endorsement.
“I’m studying my navigational qualification now and have been flying for about 14 months and have 52 hours,” said Chris.
“My goal is to join the air force and if I can, fly fighter jets. The first time I remember being on a plane was flying to Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory where my dad was a teacher. I’ve been interested in learning to fly ever since. I also remember watching F-111s as a kid and I was hooked.”
“I’ve been flying for 12 months now and have 36 hours flying time,” said Koen.
“I work part time to fund my flying and if I could, I’d be up there every day.
“I’m going to start my navigational endorsement pretty soon as well. I’m originally from the Netherlands and have done a lot of flying back and forth and I think that’s what got me so interested in flying; that and always watching Air Crash Investigations. I’m interested in studying a Bachelor of Nursing or Paramedic Science and joining the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and maybe get my qualification on that type of aircraft as well,” he said.
“We’re fortunate that Old Scholar Rob Jericho (Class of 1998), who is now a pilot with Tiger Air flying the A320, has offered to mentor the boys which is a huge boost for their confidence,” said Principal Colin Minke.
“Rob returned to the College late last year to speak to students about learning to fly and is a current parent of the Immanuel Early Learning Centre; it’s fantastic being able to maintain those connections. It’s also great knowing that in the near future, as pilots are going to be more and more in demand, that here on the Coast we have the developing infrastructure and human resources to meet the needs of the aviation industry,” said Mr Minke.